Some apology is perhaps needed when a Protestant thus brings before Protestant readers the works of a consistent Roman Catholic author. The plea must be, that the doctrine and experience described are essentially Protestant; and so far from their receiving the assent of the Roman Catholic Church, their author was persecuted for holding and disseminating them.
Of the experience of Madame Guyon, it should be borne in mind, that though the glorious heights of communion with God to which she attained may be scaled by the feeblest of God’s chosen ones, yet it is by no means necessary that they should be reached by the same apparently arduous and protracted path along which she was led.
The “Torrents” especially needs to be regarded rather as an account of the personal experience of the author, than as the plan which God invariably, or even usually, adopts in bringing the soul into a state of union with Himself. It is true that, in order that we may “live unto righteousness,” we must be iv ?dead indeed unto sin;? and that there must be a crucifixion of self before the life of Christ can be made manifest in us. It is only when we can say, ?I am crucified with Christ,? that we are able to add, ?Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.? But it does not follow that this inward death must always be as lingering as in the case of Madame Guyon. She tells us herself that the reason was, that she was not wholly resigned to the Divine will, and willing to be deprived of the gifts of God, that she might enjoy the possession of the Giver. This resistance to the will of God implies suffering on the part of the creature, and chastisement on the part of God, in order that He may subdue to Himself what is not voluntarily yielded to Him.
Of the joy of a complete surrender to God, it is not necessary to speak here: thousands of God’s children are realising its blessedness for themselves, and proving that it is no hardship, but a joy unspeakable, to present themselves a living sacrifice to God, to live no longer to themselves, but to Him that died for them, and rose again.
A simple trust in a living, personal Saviour; a putting away by His grace of all that is known to be in opposition to His will; and an entire self-abandonment to Him, that His designs may be worked out in and through us; such is the simple key to the hidden sanctuary of communion.
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